The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) has welcomed the decision by the Federal Government to close four immigration detention facilities in Australia.
“It is not a crime to seek asylum yet sadly these detention centres
have been a source of immense pain and misery for thousands of our
brothers and sisters who have come to us in search of refuge”, said Fr
Maurizio Pettenà, National Director of the ACMRO.
“Australia should treat those who come to our shores with respect and
Locking asylum seekers in immigration detention centres is
punitive and immoral, and most asylum seekers that have arrived in
Australia have been found to meet the legal definition of a refugee”,
said Fr Pettenà.
“Asylum seekers have been effectively hosted in our community for
many years now which is a much more humane alternative to closed
immigration detention” he said.
“The recent decline in boat arrivals is nothing to boast about if we
haven’t found other ways to help people who are still in desperate need
of refuge. The Catholic Church encourages governments to implement
policies which assist people seeking asylum”, he said.
“One of the most life affirming and compassionate ways Australia can
help is through our refugee resettlement program”, he said.
year, the refugee program had 20,000 places available, but sadly this
program has been severely reduced to around 13,000 places making it even
harder for refugees and asylum seekers”, said Fr Pettena.